Sri Madurai Meenakshi amman temple is a very famous temple ~ it would only be appropriate to say that people visit Madurai for worshipping the Goddess and it is not people visiting Madurai have darshan at this temple.
It stands adding lustre to the Temple town of Madurai ~ the great Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple – aka – Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, located on the south banks of river Vaigai. The presiding deity is Goddess Meenakshi, a form of Parvathi and her consort Sundareeswarar, the manifestation of Shiva. The Temple has pride of place in Sangam literature.
The Temple is many many centuries old - the present campus structure was rebuilt after the 14th century CE, further repaired, renovated and expanded in the 17th century by great ruler Thirumalai Nayakkar. In early 14th century, the armies of Delhi Sultanate led by Muslim Commander Malik Kafur plundered the temple, looted it of its valuables and destroyed the Madurai temple town along with many other temple towns of South India. Vijayanagara Empire rulers rebuilt the core and reopened the temple. The famed temple now has 14 gopurams (gateway towers), ranging from 45–50m in height, with the southern gopura tallest at 51.9 metres (170 ft). The complex has numerous sculpted pillared halls such as Ayirakkal (1,000 pillar hall), Kilikoondu-mandapam, Golu-mandapam and Pudu-mandapam.
Recently in 2017, the famed temple was adjudged the best ‘Swachh Iconic Place’ (clean place) in India. Ten spots were identified by the Central government as part of the ‘Swachh Iconic Places’ initiative and Madurai City Corporation became recipient of a special award from the Centre as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. District Collector and Corporation Commissioner received the honours. The officials claimed that as part of the recognition as Swachh Iconic Place, a project had been conceived to clean the periphery of the temple, and was slated to be completed by March 2018. The project is estimated to cost ₹11.65 crore and has been sponsored by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.
It is common knowledge that temples in Tamil Nadu are under Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments – the money that pours in to the Temple hundials are taken over by HR&CE and the Government and are used for all and sundry – wide away for the purposes for which such donations big and small are made. Temples are neglected and officials do not care to maintain the religious, spiritual or physical cleanliness of the temples ~ sad, is the state of affairs. While the revenue of major temples enrich the coffers of the Govt, nothing is done to take care, maintain, upkeep or least ensure that basic poojas are conducted in Temples. Who cares !
Adding to the sordid affairs, there are shops and commercial establishments minting money from the devotees ~ in every Temple, such shops run by individuals either do not pay rent or pay a measly price, many a times managed by politicians and goons. The authorities do not take any action for obvious reasons – either aligning themselves or simple negligent.
From the morning media abuzz with reports that a massive fire broke out on the premises of the famous Meenakshi temple was put out in the early hours of Saturday and the devotees were allowed to offer the morning prayers. The reports put that the fire reduced 40 shops to ashes. "The hall with 1,000 pillars, which houses the temple museum, has not suffered any damage," District Collector Veera Raghava Rao, who supervised the fire-fighting operations, told reporters. He added that a special team was formed to look into the impact of the fire on the temple, especially the 7,000-square foot Vasantharayar Mandapam, "which has been affected". There were no casualties, the collector said, adding that a police investigation was underway, primarily because the fire broke out in the night.
Other reports state that the major fire destroyed atleast 30 shops located inside the East Tower of the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai. A preliminary probe revealed that the fire broke out late on Friday night due to an electrical short-circuit in one of the shops situated near the 1,000-pillar hall. About 40 shops, selling puja articles and toys, were gutted in the fire and steps were being taken to clear the area of smoke, the police said.
According to a flower vendor at the temple, the mortar paste had peeled off at several places inside the Vasantharayar hall, while the paintings on the roof were destroyed. Besides, two pillars got dislocated in the impact of the fire, a temple official said on the condition of anonymity. The east tower entrance of the temple has temporarily been shut for cleanup works and the devotees are being allowed inside through the other gates.
Meanwhile, various Hindu outfits staged a protest, demanding relocation of the shops from the temple premises. It is not out of place to point out that a Hindu Munnani leader who had earlier pleaded removal of shops in the temple complex was murdered a decade ago. A huge posse of police personnel has been deployed in and around the temple.
Sad is the state of affairs ! ~ if the heritage and richness of the Temple is to be preserved all shops must be removed from the Temple compound and so be the Office – can not the administration function from any building outside the Temple Complex ? ~ and this would apply to all Temples managed (!) by HR & CE
அரசே ஆலயத்தை விட்டு வெளியேறு !
~ ஆலய காணிக்கைகளை இறைவனுக்காக மட்டுமே செலவிடு.
ஆலய காணிக்கை வேறு எந்த திட்டத்துக்கும் செல்லக்கூடாது.
ஆலய நிலங்களை அரசு தானம் செய்யக்கூடாது.